President Michael D Higgins has intervened in the immigration controversy saying some people are “sowing hate” over the issue.
His comments comes as the latest Sunday Independent/Ireland Thinks opinion poll finds a majority now believe the country has taken in too many refugees.
President Higgins describes as “unforgivable” those who are “sowing hate” over the location of refugee centres and says they “must be opposed”.
He also called for the country to be “filled with services” to counter the growing public opposition to such centres.
The poll finds that most people (56pc) believe Ireland has taken in too many refugees in the past year, with 30pc disagreeing and 14pc unsure.
The poll reveals the public to be evenly divided on opponents to the location of refugee centres: 48pc say opponents are predominantly concerned local residents, but 44pc believe they are far-right ‘agitators’.
Latest figures show Ireland is now accommodating 74,000 refugees and international protection applicants in state-funded accommodation, which includes 49,227 Ukrainians and 23,382 asylum seekers.
President Higgins, however, has accused “elements” involved in objecting to the housing of refugees at recent protests of “whipping up fear”.
He said: “What is unforgivable and must be opposed — publicly, vocally and unequivocally — are those who are trying to take advantage by sowing hate and building fear.
“We are in a position now where we have elements who are not interested in solving the long-standing problems within communities or the new arrivals.
“You mustn’t give them the opportunity. The best way of not giving them the opportunity is to fill the place with services.
“These people who are going around whipping people up and so forth, you didn’t see them previously making a case for housing, or for women’s rights, or for equal rights of any kind,” he said.
For full story see https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/president-michael-d-higgins-condemns-those-sowing-hate-and-building-fear-around-refugees-as-poll-shows-56pc-believe-ireland-took-in-too-many-42328205.html